8 Tips to Deal with Chronic Back Pain for Veterans

By Savanna Stone
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Veterans Day honors the living and dead who have served our country in war and peace, although the main reason is to thank the living veterans for their sacrifices. Because they did and do so much for our country, some suffer a lot from chronic back pain. Our goal today at Chirp is to offer those who suffer from chronic back pain some solutions. Utilize these 8 tips to help deal with your chronic back pain. And thank you from us at Chirp.

1. Tell your doctor you’re experiencing long-lasting pain. 

Telling your doctor about your chronic back pain will help diagnose the root of the problem, providing you the best treatment plan possible. Your doctor could recommend acupuncture, massage therapy, or other less pricey treatments like the Chirp Wheel+.

2. Keep a pain diary.

 In some cases, your doctor will suggest that you see a physical therapist to help manage and get rid of the pain. By keeping a pain diary, you can record the progress you’ve made, making you feel better even at times when you feel like nothing has improved. Even if the pain hasn’t improved, writing down how chronic pain affects your life will help you deal with the psychological factors of chronic pain.

3. Try to stay physically active. 

This could mean doing physical therapy to retrain your posture, test the limits of your pain tolerance, learn to become more flexible, and strengthen your core. With chronic back pain, it’s best to constantly update your doctor of any exercise you’re doing so that they can help you learn exercises that are specific to your condition and can therefore benefit you the most. Exercising can also release endorphins throughout your body that can help improve your mood and block pain signals. Exercise will also help strengthen your muscles, preventing you from being injured further from weak muscles. Another benefit of exercise is that it will stop or slow weight gain. Weight gain can cause chronic back pain to be much worse, so preventing weight gain is important in the process of getting rid of chronic back pain.

4. Consider seeing a psychologist. 

Chronic back pain is hard on the body and the mind. Seeing a psychologist or therapist will help you manage the emotional pain that comes with chronic pain (and will help you deal with the traumatic experience of how you got the chronic pain). As you try to be mindful of your emotional pain, your doctor might also recommend other mind and body exercises like meditation, yoga, or tai chi. Connecting your mind and body can help you to focus on things other than the pain that affects your daily life and activities.

5. Eat foods that decrease inflammation. 

High inflammatory diets can increase the amount of pain you have. Foods that are high in trans fats, contain refined sugars, and have been processed cause more inflammation and weight gain. Choose foods like berries, watermelon, dark chocolate, leafy greens, and others. Also try cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume. Drinking can prevent you from getting enough sleep, and sleep is important for your back in the healing process.

6. Know your limitations. 

When you have chronic back pain, you won’t be able to do all the things you used to do. Listen to your body when it tells you to stop. You don’t want to injure yourself further.

7. Quit smoking. 

Nicotine accentuates pain and slows the healing process. Smoking can damage tissue in the lower back and other places in the body by slowing down circulation and the flow of nutrients to important joints and muscles.

8. Get rid of stress. 

When you are overly stressed, it often causes your body extra pain. When you learn to control events or actions in your life that cause you stress, you can find relief from pain. Try listening to relaxing music or your favorite kind of music. Try doing things you love that don’t cause you pain like watching a movie with family or cooking a meal. Ask your doctor for advice on good stress distractions. Also try to avoid unnecessary stress in your life like the news channel, online arguments, or stressful parties.

Sources:

  1. https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/article/1675470/5-facts-to-know-about-veterans-day/
  2. https://maketheconnection.net/symptoms/chronic-pain
  3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/back-pain/7-ways-to-treat-chronic-back-pain-without-surgery
  4. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/11-tips-for-living-with-chronic-pain#2